God Has a Unity In His Will and Messages
Introduction and basic details
In my decades of living and serving God He through His Spirit has been patiently teaching me the details of His amazing wisdom and love for us human creatures. And this wisdom and love are clearly declared and demonstrated in the inspired and unified message of His words in the Bible and the other historic records of our relationship with God. This is God’s basic message in all of His words: I am seeking through My absolute will and wisdom and love to bring into existence and to maintain a physical realm (the earth and a special spot of land, a “garden”) for My authority in which My love and wisdom will be clearly displayed by human beings; they have been created in My “image” with personal powers to make personal choices and to reproduce themselves in accord with their personal choices that will demonstrate the results of Our joint work; this will be accomplished through the degree of trusting and humbly freely surrendered loving will power that My individually called “servants” and My “people” are able to implement through My Spirit and our personal relationship in their daily lives in Our joint work of exercising “dominion” over My physical creatures in My physical universe in the “land” where I place them.
God’s basic unified message to His human beings and particularly to His called “servants” is this: trust Me, I know what is “good” for you and I have provided it for you in My “land”, and I know the “evil” forces that will threaten you in this world and I will protect you from them. His initial words of instruction and commandment to His initial human creatures was this: do not eat of the fruit of “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:17) to gain this knowledge for yourself, because to do so will be personally deadly and cause your bodies to die and your souls to be eternally separated from Me. These messages of His absolute will and His loving wisdom are clearly repeated and emphasized throughout the Bible in His words of His beginning work in Genesis (Genesis 1 & 2) to His words of instruction and invitation regarding the second coming of the “Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:7, 17 and 20) in the final words of the Revelation to complete the establishment of His glorious Kingdom on this earth (as described in Revelation 21-22).
Adam and Eve, to whom God had given his basic message of His will, both recognized that they were not alone in the “land” where they had been placed, because they had a direct and personal relationship of fellowship and communication with God, the supernatural Being, who had apparently placed them there and demonstrated to Adam that He was willing to share His authority with His human creatures by giving Adam the authority to name His creatures. And Adam recognized that it was a “good” place to be, because God had filled it with many trees that provided him with delicious fruit and a “helper” who was a part of him, but who was attractively different, so he and his partner recognized that they were in a place that had been designed for their life-sustaining comfort and filled with a lot of provisions that would satisfy their hungers with a personal relationship to their creator. And even after they chose to disobey His commandment against eating of the fruit of “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil”, they knew that they had done something that was seriously wrong and that their relationship with God, the supernatural Being, with whom they were related in their situation was severely hampered, because they recognized that they were no longer innocent in their created nature but that they were “naked” and were thus “ashamed” (Genesis 2:26 & 3:7 & 10-11) to be in God’s presence. They had tried to cover their own “naked” bodies with “fig leaves” that they had “sewed together” in their own efforts to cover their sinful condition. But God replaced their self-created covering of “fig leaves” with “garments of skins” (Genesis 3:21) from animals that He had slain to provide them a covering through His grace that involved the shedding of blood and the lives of “innocent” creatures that God required for disobedient human beings to be in His presence.
Examples of such “called servants”
AdamAfter God initially created an adult male human being, He placed him in the “garden” that He had created as this earth and provided him with everything that was “good” for his daily needs. God then anointed Adam, the male, with His authority to “name” the creatures that He had created, and Adam did this (see Genesis 2:19-20). Then God created a female being, Eve called a “woman”, as his “helper” and companion to “serve” with him in the exercise of God’s authoritative “dominion” over the creatures of His earth. God then commanded both Adam and his “helper” to “trust” Him for His guidance and His power in their joint work in His “garden” by surrendering their will to choose to eat of “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” and leaving that “knowledge” and power to Him if He was going to share the authority for “dominion” over His creatures with them (see Genesis 2:17 & 3:3).
But when Adam and Eve disobeyed God by refusing to trust Him and choosing instead to seek “the knowledge of good and evil” for themselves by eating of the “fruit” of the “tree” that God had forbidden them to eat, their natures became corrupted by their sin and subject to the death of their physical bodies and their authority to share in God’s work of dominion in this earth was removed from them and all human creatures and they were expelled from God’s special “land” (the “garden”). Even the physical qualities of wise and loving ordered life in His earth was corrupted by the emerged authoritative “evil” appeals and powers of Satan, the devil (the “serpent”) who had seduced Adam and Eve into their choice to refuse to trust God (see Genesis 3:7-24).
God then had to continue His work to display His glorious love and wisdom through the joint expression of His dominion over His human willful creatures by calling other individuals to repent from their efforts to secure what would be '“good” for them and to deliver them from every “evil” enemy and to trust Him in a personal relationship to guide them in their choices to what is “good” and to protect them from the “evil” appeals and powers of the devil in their daily lives in the corrupted personal and social order for their daily lives that was then the environment for their temporary existence apart from a personal eternal relationship with God that He had planned through His will for His creation of the physical earth and its special forms of living creatures.
NoahThe next human being that God called into service to share in His special work of dominion and the redemption of particular human beings and his created earth was a man by the name of Noah whom God recognized as an individual who was “blameless” in his personal “walk with God” (his relationship with God) and who could possibly trust God enough to share in his next special work in His physical earth (see Genesis 6:9-13). Noah’s particular calling was to build an ark in which he and his family and selected animal creatures that lived “on the earth” would survive the “flood” that God was going to release on the earth to destroy all of its “corrupt” human living creatures (see Genesis 6:14-21). Noah trusted God to enable him to build an ark, and the “flood” came with a continuous rain for 40 days and nights that covered the earth and its mountains, filling all of its valleys and basins for 150 days (see Genesis 7:1-24), and Noah and his family and the ark full of God’s selected pairs of animals were all saved while the land was washed clean of its rebellious human creatures. Noah lived for 950 years, and his sons and their ancestors were “fruitful”, and they multiplied, and more generations of human beings populated the “land”.
Abram/AbrahamBut these generations were not faithful as Noah had been, and so God had to take another course of work to redeem some human beings from the curses that he had imposed upon them with the “fall” of Adam and Eve from their personal relationship with God in which he provided them with all that was “good” for their daily needs and protected them from all of the “evil” forces that threatened their daily safety and survival. So, God called Abram
Several years later the Lord added a specific detail to his promised blessing to Abram; “the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great” (Gen. 15:1). But since he and Sarai were childless, Abram concluded that “Eliezer of Damascus” (Gen. 15:2) would be his “heir” (vs. 3). And “the word of the Lord came to him: ”This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir” (Gen. 15:4). And the Lord brought him out of his tent and said, “look toward heaven and number the stars, if you are able to number them”. Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be”. And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.” (Gen. 15:5-6) This was Abram’s second act of belief. But Sarai told Abram that “the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her” (Gen. 16:2). So, Abram had intercourse with Hagar, Sarai’s servant, and she bore a son, Ishmael. Although he was a son of Abram, he was not the son that God had promised to Abram as the heir of the Lord’s blessings. God later enabled Sarah to conceive a son by Abraham, whom he named Isaac (Gen. 21:1-3), and God enabled Abraham and his family to live in peace “in the land of the Philistines” (Gen. 21:22-34).
After Isaac had grown to become a youth in Abraham’s family, God “tested” Abraham’s trust by telling him to “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you” (Gen 22:1-2). Abraham demonstrated his trusting faith in God by taking Isaac to the mountain to which God led them and prepared to physically sacrifice him on an altar, but before Abraham was able to complete the act of sacrifice by stabbing his bound son, God accepted his act of trust and stopped him and presented him with a “ram” who had been caught in a “thicket” that Abraham could sacrifice in place of his son. Abraham sacrificed the “ram” and an “angel of the Lord” reconfirmed God’s blessings to Abraham (Gen 22:3-18). Abraham and his family lived in Beersheba.
Isaac and JacobIsaac and Rebekah had twin sons, Esau and Jacob. Although Esau was born first, God had chosen Jacob for the blessing of Isaac’s birthright, so Jacob became the heir of God’s covenant of faith that God had established with Abraham, his grandfather (see Genesis 27:27-29, 28:11-22). Jacob married two sisters, Leah and Rachel, his preferred bride. He had six sons from Leah: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun. While Rachel was baren, she gave Jacob permission to have children from her maid, Bilhah, who gave Jacob two more sons, Dan and Naphtali. When Leah became baren, she gave Jacob permission to have children from her maid, Zilpah, who gave Jacob two more sons, Gad and Asher. Rachel became fertile again, and gave Jacob two more sons, Joseph and Benjamin, dying in his birth. From these twelve sons of Jacob came the twelve tribes of Israel, Jacob’s new name from God (Gen. 32:22-28). These tribes became heirs to the “land” that God had promised to Abram through the covenant of faith that they had established, and Israel was commission by God to “be fruitful and multiply. A nation and a company of nations shall come from you, and kings shall come from your own body” (Gen. 35:11).
JosephJacob (Israel) and his young family lived in the “the land of Canaan” (Gen. 37:1). But God selected Joseph, Jacob’s “favorite” son, for a special service to save them all from a severe famine and to provide them with food and shelter in the “land” of Egypt (see Genesis 37:1-36, 39:1-50:21) with Pharaoh’s blessings. This family “of Jacob”, “seventy” individuals that included the sons of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim who were born in Egypt, settled ”in the land of Goshen” (Gen. 45:10) where they were allowed to live as shepherds and later as slaves to the Egyptian Pharaohs as they multiplied into “the people of Israel” (Exodus 1:7) of over two million Hebrew relatives who lived in the homes that Egyptians provided for them and ate what they and God provided for them for the next four hundred years.
MosesMoses was born to a Hebrew slave whose midwife had been ordered to kill all male babies, but his mother hid him in a basket among the “reeds” in the Nile River. He was found by a young female companion of Pharaoh’s daughter who had come to the river to bathe. His sister who was watching over him noticed that she took “pity” over the child and suggested to the daughter that she could find someone to nurse the child for her. When she was instructed to do so, his sister got the child’s mother to do this for her, and the child and his mother were taken into the house of Pharaoh where he was raised as an Egyptian. One day after Moses had “grown up” he killed an Egyptian whom he saw “beating” a “Hebrew”. When Pharaoh learned of this, he sought to “kill” Moses, and he fled to “the land of Midian” where he married and became a shepherd (See Genesis 2:1-3:1 for this account).
After Moses had been in Midian for 40 years, God called him in a very personal and direct way with His instructions to return to Egypt and to tell Pharaoh to let “my people, the children of Israel go” out of Egypt to the “land” that He promised to them where they could live in safety with His providential care after their 400 years of slavery. The accounts of this “call” and God’s instructions for His plan to deliver His “people” from these Egyptians after He would “stretch out my hand and strike” them with many “wonders”, including the miraculous powers that He would give to Moses and a series of ten plagues that He would impose on the Egyptians. These plagues would culminate with a plague of death to the first-born child and animal in all of the homes in Egypt except those that would be saved from this judgment by the marking of the blood of sacrificed lambs that the children of Israel were instructed by Moses to place around the doors to their homes. This plague of death happened as the Israelites ate a meal of the lamb’s meat and unleavened bread in anticipation of their exodus from Egypt (this meal became known as the Passover meal in their annual festivals of celebrations for God’s might works in their lives). The accounts of their amazing exodus with their pockets full of bounty from the Egyptians and the organization of the “people” into a nation of servants with His specific laws for them to obey and instructions for their acts of worship in the “land” that He was giving to them where they would live and function as a demonstration of God’s almighty glory and power are all contained in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
JoshuaMany of these people (the older generations) refused to trust God to enable them to overcome the occupants of the “land” that He had promised to them, so God allowed them to die off during their 40 years of wandering in the “wilderness” as the younger generations could mature in their trust in God under the leadership of Moses. But God judged Moses for his failure to obey His specific instructions regarding how to provide fresh water to the people and He prevented him from leading the people into the “land” that He had promised to Abraham and the children of Israel (see Numbers 20:2-12 for the account of Moses’ transgression). So, Joshua was anointed by God to lead the people of Israel who had matured enough in their ability to trust him and God to exterminate the evil residents of this “land” and to be able to occupy their cities where God would provide them with their daily needs and protection from any evil enemies as they continued to trust Him.
Priests (Levi), Judges (Samuel), kings (David and Solomon and those of England), prophets (Daniel, Isaiah, John the Baptist), JESUS (God’s Son), apostles (Peter, John, Paul, James), pastors (Timothy and many others), evangelists (Stephen and Billy Graham), theological reformers (Luther, Calvin), statesmen (George Washington and other Presidents), missionaries (Carey and Judson), musicians (Handel), teachers (Moody).
ConclusionThe history of the Bible and Christianity contains many accounts of God’s direct personal calls to specific individuals to deliver His message of loving care and powerful spiritual guidance to just “trust” Him for what is “good” and to protect them from what is “evil” in the “land” where God has placed them. God accomplishes His redemptive work in the lives of those who respond to His invitation by humbly obeying His specific instructions for their roles of “service” as they faithfully share in His authoritative “dominion” over His created creatures in the special personal relationship of His grace and power that He establishes for His “servants”. The service that He commanded Noah to make an “ark” is basically the same act of faithful “trust” that He instructed Abram to make when He instructed him to leave his home and “go from your country…to the land that I will show you” and the same act of faithful “trust” that He gave to Moses when He called him to return to Egypt and to tell Pharoah to let His “people” go out of Egypt to the “land” that He had promised to Abraham and Isaac and Israel and the same acts of faithful trust that enabled David and Solomon to establish kingdoms of authority that reflected God’s glorious providential care and delivering power in the “land” that they had been able to take over and to occupy from its “evil” residents and kings.
These acts of faithful trusting service are all the same as those that were performed by the apostles in their acceptance of the lordship of Jesus in their lives and their efforts to “witness” to God’s glorious grace and transforming power in His Spirit. The relationship between God’s faithful servants in the Old Testament records and those in the New Testament and since then in the history of Christianity is constantly the same matter of trusting obedient service for God’s glory beyond the “laws of Moses” and the “sacrifices” in the Temple and the rituals of worship in the annual festivals of the Jews.
Jesus in His incarnated status as God’s “servant” in this world is the only person who has been completely perfect enough to lead God’s “people” and those who would “follow” Him and obey His instructions to consistently experience God’s providential care for what is “good” and His delivering power from all that is “evil” in the “land” where God placed them. Jesus is the personal expression of God’s will and glory in heaven and earth, and the acceptance of Him as Lord is God’s final call to His human creatures to trust Him. It is this Jesus who is going to personally return to this earth to complete God’s redemptive work of His human creatures in this earth that has been corrupted by their rebellious refusals to trust God, and He will do this by establishing the Kingdom of God on this earth where God’s glory will be displayed until He creates “new heavens and a new earth” (Isaiah 65:17).
In the meantime, God’s work of redemption in relationship with His called servants is always a matter of trusting service in response to His specific instructions and gracious powers and gifts. It is not a matter of creeds of believed words and cited ancient laws. There is no way to live in this world in an experience of God’s gracious forgiveness and safety and peace except as one surrenders his or her willful choices to God’s Spirit of trusting love to “God” and service to one’s “neighbor” in a personal relationship with God. The will and message of God throughout the Bible is that faith is an experience that comes from trusting God. It is not a static creed of doctrines and God’s promises that are just to be memorized and repeated in times of need and danger.
Quoted words in italic are being emphasized as coming from the Bible. Scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®)), copyright © 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved.